Publishing pitfalls 1

January 23, 2004

Agents are not vital for getting published ("The Myth of Giddens' Porsche", THES , January 16). I have tried five literary agents.

None succeeded in placing any of my books. All wasted my time with patently misinformed advice.

All seemed to think that if they sent my typescript to two editors they had been to college with and received rejection slips, they had done all that was humanly possible.

Without an agent, I have found trade publishers for six monographs. I suppose they were scholarly: The Times reviewer said the footnotes of one deserved to be published as a separate volume. Five books have been reviewed in national newspapers; three have been reissued in paperback; and one is about to appear in a German translation.

Yes, literary agents are vital - for the sort of academic who believes professionalism is something to do with image rather than results.

A. D. Harvey

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